Once you've signed up with a hosting provider, you will need to upload your website to the hosting provider's web server. Once it has been uploaded to the web server, anyone from around the world will be able to visit your website.

The most common method for updating websites is via FTP. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and is the standard protocol for transferring files from one computer to another. To use FTP, you need an FTP client. An FTP client is simply a piece of software that enables you to transfer files from one computer to another (in this case, from your computer to the hosting provider's server).

If you need an FTP client you can download FileZilla for free. Another option is Coffee Cup Direct FTP, which includes a full-blown HTML editor that lets you edit HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP files directly on the server.

Setting up your FTP Connection

Once you've downloaded and installed an FTP client, you can configure a connection for your website. In FileZilla, you do this via the Site Manager as follows:

  1. Open the Site Manager (File > Site Manager)
  2. Click New (a new site will appear)
  3. Give the new site a name (i.e. the name of your website)
  4. In the right hand pane (Site Details), enter your hostname, username, password and any other details your hosting provider has given you.
  5. Check Don't save password
  6. Click Save

Note that your FTP client may have a slight variation on these steps, but most FTP clients have a similar method for configuring new connections.

Connecting to your Website

The above steps simply configure your FTP client to remember the details of your site so that you don't have to enter these details in every time you need to update your website.

You'll notice in step 5 we selected the "Don't save password" option. For security reasons, you should not let the program remember your password - you should enter this every time you connect. Otherwise, imagine what could happen to your website if your computer got stolen...

To connect to your website, either:

  1. Open the Site Manager (File > Site Manager)
  2. Select your website (by clicking on it)
  3. Click Connect

Uploading your Files

Once you connect to your website, you will see your local drive on the left pane, and your remote website on the right pane. The first time you connect you will need to upload your whole website into one of the directories on the remote site.

In most cases, this is all you need to do. Your website will appear as soon as you type its URL into your browser's address bar.

Some web hosting providers may require that you perform another step before the changes go live. For example, they might require that you run a replication process via their online control panel. This would be the case if the FTP server was on a different computer to your physical website. This provides an extra layer of security to your website.